Magic Johnson spent all 13 years of his Hall of Fame career as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. After getting drafted first overall in 1979, however, he wasn’t planning on staying in Hollywood for long.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss recently appeared on the “All The Smoke” podcast hosted by former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. She revealed how Magic flew out to LA to meet her father, the late, great Dr. Jerry Buss, who owned the team at the time. Magic and the club's general manager, the late Bill Sharman, went to Dr. Buss’ house and rang the doorbell. Answering the front door while her father got ready upstairs was a then-17-year-old Jeanie.
There stood Magic with his iconic bright smile. Jeanie welcomed the young player and Sharman into her father's home, where they chatted for a while. After a few minutes, Magic said:
“You know, I’m really, really excited that I was drafted by the Lakers, but I’m only going to stay for three years because I want to play for the Pistons. That’s where I’m from (and) I want to go back home and play.”
Jeanie was caught off guard by what she heard and immediately ran upstairs to tell her father.
The team's owner wasn't fazed.
“The first time he puts on a Laker uniform," he said, "he’s never going to leave.”
Which, of course, was prophetic. The 6-foot-9 Michigan State product -- perhaps the greatest point guard ever -- stayed with the purple and gold and won five championships, three league MVPs, three Finals MVPs and much, much more.
Magic later joined the organization as an executive as well and played a major role in recruiting LeBron James to Southern California in 2018.
Magic would have done just fine in the Motor City. But by staying in LA, he gave Hollywood just a little more sparkle.